Annual Meeting Speaker Bios
J. Gary Smyth, Executive Director, Global Research & Development, General Motors
Smyth began his career with GM in 1989 as a senior project engineer with GM Advanced Product Engineering in Warren, Mich. He has held numerous positions in the Advanced Powertrain organization and was named engineering director, Advanced Propulsion System Controls in 1999, with responsibilities including advanced diesel and advanced emission development. In September 2004, he transferred to GM R&D as director, Powertrain Systems Research Lab, where his responsibilities included directing all research and development globally for conventional and hybridized propulsion systems. In June 2010, Gary was promoted to executive director, North American Science Labs, GM Global R&D.
A native of Northern Ireland, Smyth attended The Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB). He studied mechanical engineering and received a bachelor’s of science in 1985 and a doctorate in 1991. He is an active member of SAE International, including a founding member of the Executive Leadership Team for the SAE North American International Powertrain Conference (NAIPC).
Mehmood Khan, M.D., Executive Vice President, PepsiCo Chief Scientific Officer, Global Research and Development
PepsiCo has 22 different food and beverage brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. With net revenues of over $65 billion, PepsiCo’s main businesses also make hundreds of other enjoyable foods and beverages that are respected household names throughout the world.
As chief scientific officer, Dr. Khan leads company-wide R&D; recruits highly regarded clinical scientists, global health leaders and medical experts; launches research projects with leading universities; and opens advanced R&D facilities.
As Executive Vice President, Dr. Khan leads a global team of experts in nutrition, medicine, research, science, marketing/branding, ingredient sourcing and product innovation. He directs PepsiCo’s enterprise planning, portfolio development and execution of new technology to grow the company’s nutrition-focused brands in four areas: grains (Quaker), fruits (Tropicana), vegetables (Sabra) and dairy (Wimm-Bill-Dann). With the creation of the GNG, PepsiCo is one of only two food and beverage companies worldwide with an operation dedicated to health and wellness.
This crossover role is unique in the global food and beverage industry, permitting a single point of linkage between R&D and core businesses and brands within the context of health and wellness.
Prior to joining PepsiCo, Dr. Khan was president, Takeda Global Research & Development Center, overseeing Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company’s worldwide R&D efforts. Previously, Dr. Khan was a faculty member at the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., serving as director of the Diabetes, Endocrine and Nutritional Trials Unit in the endocrinology division. He also spend nine years leading programs in diabetes, endocrinology, metabolism and nutrition for the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.
Cynthia Arnold, Chief Technology Officer, Valspar Corporation
Dr. Cynthia A. Arnold, Ph.D., has been the Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of The Valspar Corporation since January 2011. In this role, Dr. Arnold leads Valspar's global technology activities. Dr. Arnold joined The Valspar Corporation from Sun Chemical Corporation where she served as Chief Technology Officer since July 2004. She served as Vice President, Technology, Coatings Adhesives and Specialties, for Eastman Chemical and in R&D and business leadership positions with GE, most recently as President of Exatec, LLC, a joint venture of Bayer Polymers and GE Plastics. Prior to GE, she was a Sloan Executive Science and Engineering Fellow in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the White House, Washington D.C. Dr. Arnold holds a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley and a doctorate in materials science and engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Alan Epstein, Vice President, Technology and Environment, Pratt & Whitney
Dr. Alan Epstein is responsible for setting the direction for and coordinating technology across Pratt & Whitney as it applies to product performance and environmental impact. He also provides strategic leadership in the investment, development, and incorporation of technologies that reduce the environmental impact of Pratt & Whitney’s world-wide products and services.
Prior to joining Pratt & Whitney, Dr. Epstein was the R.C. Maclaurin Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He currently holds an appoint there as Professor Emeritus.
Dr. Epstein is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in aeronautics and astronautics.
IRI 2014 Medalist
Joseph DeSimone, Director, Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise; Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry, UNC
Joseph DeSimone is the Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University and of Chemistry at UNC. DeSimone is also an adjunct member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
DeSimone, an innovative polymer chemist, has made breakthrough contributions in fluoropolymer synthesis, colloid science, nano-biomaterials, green chemistry and most recently 3D printing. He pioneered supercritical CO2-based polymerization reactions and the self-assembly of molecules in compressible media. He has shown the benefit of novel fluoro-elastomers for soft lithographic applications, including the synthesis of shape-controlled nano-biomaterials.
DeSimone is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received over 50 major awards and recognitions including the 2014 Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success from the ACS; 2013 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors; 2012 Walston Chubb Award for Innovation by Sigma Xi; the 2010 AAAS Mentor Award in recognition of his efforts to advance diversity in the chemistry PhD workforce, and many others.
DeSimone has published over 300 scientific articles and has 140 issued patents and over 80 patents pending. DeSimone holds a BS in Chemistry from Ursinus College a PhD in Chemistry from Virginia Tech.